The apples may be gone, but I couldn’t have been blessed with a better location for this beautiful family!
Here are two preview shots:
How beautiful is this family?? And such great kids to work with – made it an easy and fun session!
Photographing the children of other professional photographers can be a very mixed bag. Most of those children are hounded with a camera from the moment they are born and they would rather do anything than have to take more pictures.
But these two lovely ladies were different. Both daughters of respected and prominent Columbus area photographers Gwen Z Photography and Elizabeth Esthi Photography, these girls were out to have fun and play and even pose!
I don’t think a midday full sun shoot could get any more fantastic than this – they were such a treat and it was a pleasure to shoot alongside professionals that day.
We used two locations that day: a farm (with beautiful rustic old barn) and a field of naturally growing wildflowers. My vision for the shoot was pure Summer joy: all the things that make Summer in Ohio a magical time full of warm magical memories.
One of my favorite locations to shoot is an apple orchard. I love the neat rows of trees lined up perfectly for interesting compositions and angles. They provide such a dramatic backdrop for my subjects: that little extra that turns a boring picture into something interesting and dynamic.
Photography is, and will always be, very hard work for the professional photographer. It’s not about coming to a location, bringing a big fancy camera, and clicking a shutter. Angles, lines, composition, and especially light (angle, intensity, and color) all have to be weighed and compromises made to capitalize on the best assets and downplay the negatives.
When I go to any location, I first have to analyze the light direction. For an apple orchard, which can only be shot in one of two angles for the majority of the session, I have to make sure the shoot is scheduled for the most optimal time of day. As an example, if I am shooting a North-South oriented orchard field, I can only shoot it very late in the day or very early in the morning. But an East-West field can be shot with much greater opportunity since I can put the light behind or in front of my subjects. All that goes out the window, though, if it is an overcast day. Then I have to put into a new set of considerations in order to prevent harsh shadows of the face and ‘raccoon’ eyes. Also, the amount of foliage also greatly change what I can and cannot shoot: Summer may provide more opportunities with light but also more challenges (green color casts). Spring brings blossoms but few leaves to block the light. Autumn colors are vibrant but the trees can be very dense and the early dead branches need to be avoided.
Once the light is assessed, then I have to decide the best camera settings (aperture, shutter, ISO, lens) to make sure I have enough light on my subject and the surrounding area doesn’t distract or overpower my subject. The lens must enhance the subject but also do appropriate things to the background. A more amateur photographer will most likely have a lot of closeups of the face and be unable to balance the background to the subject. But the professional knows how to provide session variety: closeups, full body, relationship, thoughtful, happy, moments, connection, etc. Very often, the difference between a mediocre shot and an amazing image comes down to where the photographer stood when the shot was taken. Tw0 steps either direction can make or break an image.
Reading a location is a skill set very few photographers possess – it takes time and training to really understand how to find the very best pockets in any location: the confluence of light, background, and moment. It’s one of my greatest strengths and one I proudly bring to every shoot. After all, anyone can shoot a family sitting in the grass in the middle of a park. But at one point, a client should always ask: is my family really that generic and boring that I want to be photographed that way?
And finally, when the images are taken off the camera, post processing becomes critical. Proper color is especially a hurdle for many newer photographers. As well, decisions on mitigation ofenvironmental issues I could not change (ever wish you could move a tree?) and enhancing those that made that area unique need to be assessed with a critical and object eye. For my imagery, the focus (light) is always on the subject. The art of processing is knowing how to ensure that always is the final result of an image with the Ajaton Joki name on them.
I feel that every person is unique and distinct: photographing them in the place where they live, allowing all the factors that helped to grow and define them as a person, are just as important in the story of their life. And that’s what photography really is: the story of a wonderful life, one moment at a time.
Here is the story of a beautiful and serious young lady at the apple orchard where she grew up. This was a later day sunset shoot really playing with the gorgeous light and color at that time of the day. In only a few days, these trees would be picked bare for the harvest: the apple she is holding made into the sweet tasting jellies and jams the children in the area will enjoy for months to come in lunches and as afternoon treats.